Bad Witch

Last updated

Bad Witch
Bad Witch (2018).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 22, 2018 (2018-06-22)
Genre Industrial rock
Length30:11
Label
Producer
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Add Violence
(2017)
Bad Witch
(2018)
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 31
(2017)
Halo 32
(2018)
Singles from Bad Witch
  1. "God Break Down the Door"
    Released: May 17, 2018

Bad Witch is the ninth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released by The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on June 22, 2018. It is the last of a trilogy of releases, following their two previous EPs Not The Actual Events (2016) and Add Violence (2017). Like with their previous releases, it was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Industrial rock music genre

Industrial rock is an alternative rock genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Singer, producer and instrumentalist Trent Reznor was the only permanent member until the addition of English musician Atticus Ross in 2016.

Capitol Records American record label

Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label "of note" in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.

Contents

The record diverges from the style of previous Nine Inch Nails work, notably by the inclusion of jazz instrumentation in the music, including saxophone performances by Reznor. The album is reminiscent to (and influenced by) David Bowie's final studio album Blackstar, with Reznor having collaborated with Bowie in the 1990s as well as citing Bowie as a primary influence. At just over 30 minutes long, the record is Nine Inch Nails' shortest full-length release. The Cold and Black and Infinite North America 2018 Tour was announced alongside its release to promote the album, in addition to the album's sole single, "God Break Down the Door".

David Bowie British musician, actor, record producer and arranger

David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

<i>Blackstar</i> (album) 2016 album

Blackstar is the twenty-fifth and final studio album by English musician David Bowie. It was released worldwide through ISO, RCA, Columbia, and Sony on 8 January 2016, coinciding with Bowie's 69th birthday. The album was largely recorded in secret between The Magic Shop and Human Worldwide Studios in New York City with Bowie's longtime co-producer Tony Visconti and a group of local jazz musicians.

"God Break Down the Door" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, from their ninth studio album Bad Witch. It was released on May 17, 2018, coinciding with Trent Reznor's 53rd birthday. The song features Reznor playing the saxophone.

Upon its release, Bad Witch received generally positive reviews from critics, who applauded its influences and production; some called it the band's best work in a decade. The album reached No. 12 in the US and UK, as well as the top five of various Billboard charts.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Background

Nine Inch Nails planned a trilogy of EPs, [1] starting with Not the Actual Events in December 2016 and followed by Add Violence in July 2017. Regarding the third entry in the trilogy and its delayed production, frontman Trent Reznor said: "We started out with a rigid concept, having not written them all. As we finished Add Violence, we found ourselves... it felt too predictable. It felt like we were forcing things. Musically and storytelling-wise. The reason this has been delayed is because it took us a while for – what has become the third [record] – to reveal itself to us." [2]

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

<i>Not the Actual Events</i> 2016 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Not the Actual Events is the fifth extended play (EP) by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released physically on December 23, 2016, under Trent Reznor's own label The Null Corporation, while those who had pre-ordered received a download link a day early. The second Nine Inch Nails EP of original material following Broken (1992), it marks longtime collaborator Atticus Ross's first appearance as an official member of the band. The digital pre-orders included a "physical component" that was shipped in early March 2017. The EP is the first in a trilogy released between 2016-2018, preceding Add Violence (2017) and the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018).

<i>Add Violence</i> 2017 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Add Violence is the sixth extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Released through The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on July 19, 2017, it is the second in a trilogy of releases, following the EP Not the Actual Events (2016) and preceding the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018). It was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Following a handful of concerts in support of Add Violence, Reznor was enthusiastic to begin work on the final part of the trilogy. [3] After experiencing creative difficulty in the studio, he and bandmate Atticus Ross decided to focus on doing something "exciting" and "risky", which included the incorporation of saxophone. [3] Those sessions led to Bad Witch, a studio album inspired in part by David Bowie. [3] [4] While Bad Witch was originally set to be an EP, [5] it developed into a full-length album; [6] [7] [8] at 30 minutes in length, it is the band's shortest to date. Reznor initially saw the trio of planned EPs as one long album with three smaller components, [3] but, after seeing how EPs tend to be overlooked (especially on music streaming sites), Reznor decided to promote Bad Witch to a full album. [9] [10]

Atticus Ross English musician, composer and record producer

Atticus Matthew Cowper Ross is an English musician, songwriter, record producer, and audio engineer. Along with Trent Reznor, Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score for The Social Network in 2010. In 2013, the pair won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for their soundtrack to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has worked with Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails since 2005, and became an official member of the band in 2016.

Composition

Musically, Bad Witch is a concise album that utilizes aggressive instrumentation and vocals associated with industrial rock [11] [12] and quieter, more somber music most prominent in the two instrumental tracks on the record. [13] Reznor employs a saxophone at multiple points on the album, [13] and occasionally sings in a different way to his normal manner, [14] with some critics comparing the style to Bowie's. [4] The album incorporates diverse sounds and instrumentation reminiscent of many genres and musical styles. [12] [15] Reznor's saxophone performances play a prominent role in the album, making the album distinct from previous releases by Nine Inch Nails. [12] The only song on the album to be released as a single is "God Break Down the Door". [16] [17] The album contains two instrumental songs, "Play the Goddamned Part" and "I'm Not from This World", respectively described as "a discordant, freeform jazz jam amidst clashing electronics" and "droning and hypnotic". [15] The album's sixth and final track, "Over and Out", begins as a relatively upbeat electronic song but ends as a protracted segment of white noise that concludes Bad Witch. [15] [18] This may be compared to the closing track of Add Violence (which precedes Bad Witch in the trilogy of releases), "The Background World", which ends on a repeated loop that is gradually compressed into white noise. [19]

White noise random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies, giving it a constant power spectral density

In signal processing, white noise is a random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies, giving it a constant power spectral density. The term is used, with this or similar meanings, in many scientific and technical disciplines, including physics, acoustical engineering, telecommunications, and statistical forecasting. White noise refers to a statistical model for signals and signal sources, rather than to any specific signal. White noise draws its name from white light, although light that appears white generally does not have a flat power spectral density over the visible band.

Several critics have compared Bad Witch to Reznor and Ross' film scores. [4] [20] Others likened the album to Bowie's Blackstar (2016), [4] [18] [20] and some to Reznor's soundtrack for the 1996 video game Quake . [20]

Release

On June 22, 2018, the album was released to retailers worldwide. It entered on several international charts and at 12 on the Billboard 200. [21]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 77/100 [22]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [20]
The A.V. Club B− [23]
Consequence of Sound B+ [24]
The Independent Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [11]
Mojo Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [25]
NME Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [26]
The Observer Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [27]
Pitchfork 8.0/10 [28]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [12]
Slant Magazine Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [29]

Bad Witch received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 77, based on 23 reviews. [22] AllMusic's Neil Z. Yeung called the album "frustrating" but also "the most cohesive and enveloping experience of this period". [20] Terence Cawley of The Boston Globe gave Bad Witch a positive review, writing, "Reznor is still making records that crackle with restless energy. For an artist who once specialized in massive concept albums, the short-and-sweet approach of Bad Witch suits him well." [4] Writing for NME , Tom Connick gave the album a perfect score, calling it the band's best release in a decade. [26] The Independent 's Ilana Kaplan noted that despite being only thirty minutes long, the album was full of complexity and would probably be received as a sensory overload. [11] Writing for Q , George Garner considered the album an "excellent reprisal" of Nine Inch Nails' "industrial aggression", concluding that after thirty years, the band sounded reinvigorated. [12] Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic felt that Bad Witch does not reach the highs of 1992's Broken or 1994's The Downward Spiral , but it does not dishonor them either. [18] Drowned in Sound 's Christian Cottingham was more mixed on the album, criticizing it for relying too much on previous Nine Inch Nails sounds and material. [30] Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork wrote, "For the first time in a long time, Reznor sounds like he's got his eye on the future." [28]

Track listing

All tracks written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

No.TitleLength
1."Shit Mirror"3:06
2."Ahead of Ourselves"3:30
3."Play the Goddamned Part" (instrumental)4:51
4."God Break Down the Door"4:14
5."I'm Not from This World" (instrumental)6:41
6."Over and Out"7:49
Total length:30:11

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bad Witch. [31]

Nine Inch Nails

Additional personnel

Charts

Chart (2018)Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA) [32] 9
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [33] 16
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) [34] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) [35] 24
Canadian Albums (Billboard) [36] 15
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) [37] 39
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) [38] 43
French Albums (SNEP) [39] 37
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [40] 28
Greek Albums (IFPI) [41] 68
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ) [42] 34
Irish Albums (IRMA) [43] 50
Italian Albums (FIMI) [44] 49
Japanese Albums (Oricon) [45] 43
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ) [46] 4
Portuguese Albums (AFP) [47] 18
Scottish Albums (OCC) [48] 6
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) [49] 31
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [50] 5
UK Albums (OCC) [51] 12
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC) [52] 1
US Billboard 200 [21] 12
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard) [53] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard) [54] 2

Related Research Articles

<i>The Downward Spiral</i> 1994 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.

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Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

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